A Plateful of Reactions to MyPlate, the New Food Un-Pyramid

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Photo: Doctored by Grub Street

Michelle Obama today unveiled the not-at-all-pie-chart-like MyPlate graphic, which as we mentioned earlier this week replaces the two-decade-old food pyramid. Reactions have been pretty subdued thus far, with most people noting that the food pyramid was already simple enough, and the New York Times pointing out that the government has spent $2 million so far researching, creating, and promoting this new graphic, which sounds like kind of a lot for something so ... basic. Nutrition pundit and professor Marion Nestle says, "It’s better than the pyramid but that’s not saying a lot," referring to the fact that a 2005 pyramid revision had no food on it and made, like, zero sense. Below, a few more reactions to the chart, which range from quiet "Yay"s to "Eh"s.

"I hate the 'protein' sector. I'm a nutritionist, and it's a switch from food to nutrients, which is always a mistake — it's just wrong. Grains and dairy, which have their own sectors, are a very important source of protein. They didn't want to call it the meat group in part because the meat industry has really been trying to equate meat with protein, and they didn't want to minimize meat and have smaller sectors for beans, poultry and fish. This is their way of doing an "eat less meat" move without actually saying it." —Marion Nestle [Scientific American]

"Everyone knows what to eat more of and what to eat less of. Educating people about food is like educating them about adultery ... This is an example of bureaucrats wasting time and money." —Armen Hareyan [Emax Health]

"That proverbial dairy group on the side of My Plate; science lobbying at its finest. Since the plate differentiates between fruits, vegetables, proteins, and grains, it begs the question — why aren’t dairy products included with the 'protein' group? ... The fact that dairy has calcium is irrelevant; some green vegetables offer just as much calcium as milk — and in a more absorbable form — yet they are contained within the vegetable group. If the USDA were truly concerned with calcium intake (rather than returning the financial favor to the dairy industry), it would make a “calcium-rich food” group and include a wide variety of calcium-rich foods with equal prominence (milk, cheese, and yogurt along with kale, broccoli, brussels sprouts, and fortified dairy alternatives)." —Nutritionist and food policy activist Andy Bellatti [SmallBites]

"Gone is the basement level of the pyramid — the heftiest slab — a foundation of breads, starches and other carbohydrates. Gone is the mid section of fruits and veggies narrowing to the tiniest peak of fats, sweets and oils built on Bush-era dietary research that all fats were bad fats." —Meghan Casserly [Girl Friday/Forbes]

"I'll be watching with interest @USDA as unveil their new food icon at 10:45 EST." [AliceWaters/Twitter]

"The food pyramid, you will doubtless remember, is that irritating, confusing and misleading visual nutrition aid that divided foods into recommended layers. Your pyramid scheme joke here ______. " [Squid Ink/LA Weekly]

"The USDA said it had conducted focus groups with about 4,500 people, including children, to develop the symbol." [Healthland/Time]

ChooseMyPlate [USDA]

Nutrition Plate Unveiled to Replace the Food Pyramid
[NYT]
Earlier: Will the Obama Administration’s New Food-Pie-Chart Thing Include Dessert?